From the Holy Mountain
A rich stew of history and travel narrative spiced with anecdote, opinion and bon mots. In From the Holy Mountain, Dalrymple travels the Silk Route of ancient Byzantium through the present-day Middle East, tracing the AD578 journey of John Moschos, the great Byzantine monk, traveller and oral historian. Dalrymple's aim is to uncover the human archeology of Eastern Christianity.
Comments from Groups
This book was very much enjoyed by most. Brilliant writing, funny and learned. We too were concerned for the authors disregard for some of the people that he drew along with him. He made fun of some unfairly - this commented on by the reviewer. She was a harsh critic. Wellington 007
Nearly half of the members of our group found it too difficult and read only a small part of the book. The others who stuck with it found it very informative and well written though too detailed. Frustrating but rewarding. Jervoistown 001
Not everyone managed to finish this book but those that did gained a huge amount of knowledge. It was an amazing, although at times, difficult read packed with information. Some members want to purchase their own copies of the book. Waiau 002
Generally good/fair comments, colourful interesting and given the present situation in Syria, very topical. The majority enjoyed it and found it worthwhile. Tairua 001
Despite being an historical work we felt this book was dated. Most people felt there was enough material to write 2-3 books which would have been more readable as most found it heavy going. Lower Hutt 012
A wide ranging response from our group to this book. It is a huge subject and required careful reading to fully appreciate the author's grasp of the subject. I loved it!
Not everybody managed to finish the book, as it is a 'big' read. The people that did finish it, liked it for its writing style, the historical details and found it worthwhile. Many did not agree with the notes provided. A common theme was the cruelty that many religions have been subjected to and have subjected others to. It was interesting to realize that how the Muslim faith is practised is closer to how the first Christians practised theirs.
Opinions varied from not reading this book to enjoying it tremendously. Beautiful and descriptive (and with wry humour) writing. It took us to a world, culture and religions that we knew little about. Some had visited the area so appreciated the in depth descriptions of where they had been in recent years or 50 years ago. More than a travel book, it is a history and/or a reference book which gives a wealth of information, but for most of us it was too much to absorb in one reading.
Well, we all gave it a go! 4 got further than the others, and one finished it. It is a pity it was not easier to read as we got quite a good discussion going about the history of the region he travelled, and the future of the Christian church in the area.
Although we didn't all finish the book and some of us found it rather dry, a lively discussion on the Middle East and its politics resulted.
Opinions were mixed about this book. Some didn't read it, others found it hard to read, and some really enjoyed it. Members who had visited Turkey or Jerusalem found it particularly interesting.
Only two people did not like the book. It was very readable and generated excellent discussion.
Several members were absent but we still managed to have a good discussion. One didn't enjoy it and several were unable to finish reading it, although liked what they did read and would like to eventually complete the book. One member had travelled in that area and gave the book high praise.
This was an excellent book for promoting discussion. We were fascinated by the information, and were googling the monasteries and sects to see if they still survived...
Members welcomed the opportunity to read about history and travel they were not terribly familiar with, and were pleased they did.
A new look at the Middle East, Byzantine Empire, and early branches of Christianity and Islam beginnings. Not really a travel book as claimed. The storyline and clutter of details jump about, but it's worth the effort to get to some very interesting segments. Worth the read if you like history and the history of religion.